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OFWs displaced by COVID-19 pandemic reaches 400K — Bello

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Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III on Sunday said that at least 400,000 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) have been displaced by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

“Ang estimate namin mga 400,000, dun sa 400,000, about 110,000 opted to stay, ayaw nilang magpa-repatriate,” Bello said in an interview over DZMM.

Bello added that as of Sunday, at least 260,000 OFWs have been repatriated and have returned to their respective provinces.

“When we say repatriated, dumating sa Pilipinas, na-swab test, na-quarantine, paglabas ng test, negative, napauwi na namin sila sa final destination nila,” according to Bello.

“Noong una may hiccups, pero ngayon mabilis na ‘yung repatriation, swab, result, one day or two days, alam na ‘yung resulta. Kapag negative, makakauwi kaagad, may konting aberya pero overall maganda na ‘yung handling,” he noted.

On the other hand, Bello said that the unemployment in the country has decreased to 36 percent this September, from 45 percent unemployment rate in June.

“Based on our record, only 3.5 million are considered displaced by COVID-19.  Out of this, 3.5 million, 1.9 million na-terminate on a temporary basis. ‘Yung hindi naman nawalan ng trabaho, their working hours were reduced because of the flexible working arrangement. Under this, an employee is allowed to work two to three days a week. Siyempre mababawasan kita n’yan but that is allowed under our advisory,” he added.

Bello added that more than 200,000 employees were permanently terminated since the lockdown in March.

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